Food Protip: Chicken And Waffles. In A Cone. One Night Only!

Fried chicken cone indonesian

UPDATE 9/27: Due to such high demand and continuous long lines, Carb & Nation will be serving both versions of their savory chicken & waffle cones next Saturday night (10/4/14) on the second night of their Tested LA residency!

Fried chicken nestled in a waffle cone, in two globally inspired flavors. Who could possibly be the mastermind behind this fascinating food creation coming to Los Angeles this weekend?

That would be chef innovators Fata Wijaya and Kevin Micheli of the Carb & Nation food truck. The event will mark the kickoff to their Saturday night residency at Tested LA, and therefore although the chicken & waffle cones will be a pop-up event, Carb & Nation will actually be back with new goodies every Saturday night.

Here are all the details you need to get your hands on this extremely limited time– and extremely delicious– fusion fare:

Who: Carb & Nation

Where: Tested LA – 3329 Division St. Los Angeles 90065

When: Saturday, Sept. 27 ~ 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

I had the pleasure of meeting Carb & Nation chef Kevin Micheli at the ROAM Food Truck Academy seminar as part of the Western Foodservice Expo last month, and I’m excited to say that if you are unable to make it to the Glassell Park location, you can still partake in the hype via exclusive coverage right here, as I will be doing a pre-event collaboration with the chefs prior to their opening!

Stay tuned for the post, along with behind-the-scenes video coverage. I will also be posting live updates along with other foodie news as usual, on the Tanaya’s Table Twitter (@TanayaG) & Instagram accounts (@MsTanayaG). Connect with me on those social media handles to get the scoop firsthand, as always. On each platform I share exclusive food tips and content, and love having foodie conversations with all of you!

In the meantime, I present you with a visual sneak peek to get your tastebuds primed and ready for this Saturday night:

The American Waffle Cone

fried chicken cone modern american

Fried chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese fondue, fig syrup and an apple slaw with lemon-coriander dressing. Tip: ask to add the housemade buttery habanero hot sauce if you like heat! (source: Carb & Nation)

 

The Indonesian Style Waffle Cone

Fried chicken cone indonesian

Indonesian fried chicken, coconut rice, pickled vegetables, coconut-kaffir lime syrup and sambal chili sauce. (source: Carb & Nation)

Other cities, be jealous. Or, just stay tuned for the Tanaya’s Table exclusive inside Carb & Nation’s chicken & waffle cone pop-up! 😉

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New Restaurant: Murph’s Service Station Exclusive First Look + VIDEO

 

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Get the scoop on Murph’s Service Station before its grand opening on Monday, Sept. 15!

Last night, I had the opportunity to be one of the first to experience Murph’s Service Station, a new restaurant concept from the talented, creative and intriguing Richard DiSisto, founder & principal of the Vantage Restaurant Group. It’s so new, it hasn’t even opened to the public yet! The grand opening is set for Monday, Sept. 15, so check out the exclusive scoop right here before the doors open to this highly anticipated food & drink establishment.

Although he owns a series of other notable restaurants like Tipple & Brine and Tunnel Bar also on Ventura Boulevard, when DiSisto sat down with me at the bar to chat about his newest concept, he insisted, “I don’t like to be called a restaurateur. I identify more as an artist.”

That makes sense, especially once he revealed that he builds the entire concept himself, and lets his creative vision lead him through the process. “I don’t know what it’s going to be like until I enter the space… and I don’t fully ‘get it’ myself until the last screw is in.” He continued, “Actually, I didn’t even ‘get it’ with Murph’s until last night when I came in at 1 a.m. Now I get it. Let the people make it what they want now.”

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

A sneak peek at the bar design.

When I asked him what he’d order first from the bar, he replied without skipping a beat: “Vodka soda,” and smiled. From past successes, DiSisto has found that by focusing on creating an environment that people want to come back to just to hang out, that’s what truly creates a lasting model in this industry. “Ambiance is everything,” he stated.

He went on to explain to me the unique backstory to his concept, as Murph’s is supposed to be a deserted art deco service station from the 1930’s, and that he bought it and restored it to open up in the postwar heyday of the year 1946. What a cool vision, right? Once you go, you’ll get it. It has a great vibe, with super service from bartenders and waitstaff alike.

Our bartender, Victoria, was a true rockstar serving equally strong drinks and entertainment throughout the night. We had planned on moving around more throughout the night, but Victoria and her super cool mohawk kept our booties planted firmly in those seats for a good part of the night!

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Check out the names of those cocktails! Pictured: The River Tam.

Speaking of the bar, I loved the names of the drinks, like “The Cake is a Lie” and “Bus to Beelzebub.” The ingredients, all housemade, like their pickles, charcuterie and ice cream, were also unique and well-balanced. The “River Tam” with tequila and habanero syrup was a good one, as was “The Cake is a Lie” (besides just the name!). Try the latter with the pickles. It pairs great.

It’s not a surprise that their cocktails are solid (figuratively, not literally!) since their bar consultant is a chemistry expert. One of their drinks has this unique habanero-cherry hybrid garnish called a “Habcherinio,” and I was OBSESSED with it (see video above). Victoria said they got it in downtown, so I definitely need to go get me some of those when I can’t drive up to Sherman Oaks.

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

They use a nose-to-tail no-waste approach, which leads to a mean charcuterie spread.

Tray-served food items included Cheesy Burger sliders with housemade pickles, grilled onions and pimento cheese, as well as bacon lettuce cups, cheese biscuits, deviled eggs, and an amazing buttermilk fried chicken with spicy melon. One of my top bites, however, were the potato puffs and the sea salt-dusted donut holes with Chantilly cream, vanilla, caramel and chocolate sauces!

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Cheesy Burger sliders with pimento cheese, grilled onions, housemade pickles on a brioche bun.

Back to those potato puffs, though. They were like light, pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth clouds of mashed potato fried to a gold crisp, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and chives. This is where making friends with the bartender really pays off, folks. Victoria revealed to us that the secret to making them so light and scrumptious is that there’s pâte à choux (the same dough that cream puffs are made of!) mixed right in with the potatoes. What a cool idea! Definitely a must-try when you stop in.

Copyright 2014 Tanaya Ghosh

Potato puffs made with a surprisingly cool ingredient!

Another fun fact from Rich DiSisto himself: it took him just seven weeks from conception to opening Murph’s, and six weeks to open Tipple and Brine. Talk about drive! Keep an eye on DiSisto, as he aims to open a new restaurant concept every six months. We can’t wait, Rich!

Murph’s is located where Mad Bull’s Tavern used to be: 14649 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Check out the video up above, and you’ll know why venturing to the Valley (we drove 100 miles roundtrip!) is so worth it for this new gem. Stay tuned to Tanaya’s Table for more restaurant news and videos. Cheers!

VIDEO: Dunkin’ Donuts Opens In Santa Monica. Worth The Hype?

 

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Flavors: Chocolate Frosted, Blueberry Cake, Oreo Crumb, Pumpkin Pie

Although summer is ending, it doesn’t look like food events in L.A. are slowing down one bit! As my friend and I happened to be in Santa Monica for a group taping of the Epic Meal Empire show by the guys of Epic Meal Time, we figured we’d also check out Dunkin’ Donuts.

We were curious to see how crazy the line was, as the grand opening was just a day ago. Since the line didn’t look as long as we’d expected and we had some time on our hands, we figured let’s wait in the line and see whether this long-awaited opening is worth the hype. For the sake of food journalism, of course!

In case you didn’t know (despite the frenzy here in Los Angeles), DD has opened its first location in Southern California in decades. You see, Dunkin’ Donuts was actually around until the late 90’s. However, all that’s existed in SoCal since then are a couple smaller locations such as the one in Barstow, on the way to Las Vegas. However, this is the first full-service store to open in recent times, and people are going ga-ga over it.

Once we arrived on scene with a healthy dose of skepticism in tow (so much hype!), we waited in the line that didn’t seem too crazy for Day 2, but did move quite slowly. However, shooting the video below to share with you guys did help the time go by more quickly. Forty-five minutes of our time, to be exact!

Copyright Tanaya Ghosh 2014

Was it worth it? Here are some tips and candid thoughts, along with a video review of the experience so you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth the trek and the wait:

  • If you absolutely must try a new place as soon as it opens, try to wait until at least Day 2. This will save you hours of your life versus braving the crowds, lines and general madness of opening day. The excitement will be there, minus (most of) the crazy. If you love camping out and scoring free stuff for being first in line on opening day that much though, more power to you!
  • Service was good, as they tried to be as efficient as possible by taking orders for 6 or more while customers stood in line. That way, they’re ready for you when you get to the front. However, not all options are listed on those glossy menu sheets!
  • The cake donuts are pretty solid. Moist, a bit fluffy on the inside, and not overly sweet. If you enjoy filled donuts, the Boston Cream is probably your best bet, unless you enjoy the artificial-tasting, extra sugary “cream” filling in the other donuts. Another one I really wanted to love, but at least the Boston Cream was a winner.
  • I tried Dunkin’ on the East Coast years ago. Was underwhelmed by the yeast donuts. I’m sad to say these were no different, tasting dense, a bit dry, and not very fresh. The chocolate frosting on the donut with sprinkles (see video below) was on point though. Still, Dunkin’s donuts pale in comparison to the glorious, pillowy, freshly fried rings of dough found at most mom & pop shops around town. Which basically come up every few blocks in most areas. Check them out sometime, trust me!
  • While I know many people rave hardcore about the coffee and not the donuts, I must say that I didn’t really enjoy the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Disclaimer: I’m not a regular coffee drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional ice coffee… and I know a good one when I sip one! This one even had an extra pump of pumpkin spice (cashier’s suggestion), but it still didn’t taste anything like pumpkin to me, and just tasted weirdly artificial. I wanted to like it, I really did!
  • “Pumpkin pie” donut didn’t have any taste of pumpkin nor pie, and seemed to be choc full of artificial flavoring and unnatural orange color. The texture was also not how it looks in the ads, tasting again like the sugary frosting of a storebought cupcake. However, the pumpkin pie spice cake donut was quite tasty! One out of three pumpkin flavored items nailed it, in our opinion.
  • Parking can be hard to find with all the permit-parking-only side streets, but there are lots around for $1 an hour. Not too bad on that front!
  • Sorry if I’ve offended you and your love of Dunkin’ Donuts. As a native Californian and donut lover (from small shops to gourmet eateries), I think there are a ton of specialty donut places around these days that offer far better quality, using better ingredients and innovative flavors. DD’s price is not bad at all, however.
  • If I go back, I do want to try their breakfast sandwiches. Wonder how good those are, because they look great! I just don’t want to get my hopes up ’til I try it, since you can’t trust the hype, it looks like. I still don’t understand the obsession, unless you grew up on Dunkin’. Sorry guys! I will try again sometime, though.

The overall experience was a good one, and I think they’ve done a fantastic job branding and creating a cultlike obsession over not necessarily the product itself (besides maybe the coffee, depending on whom you talk to), but the entire experience, which leaves you feeling happy you visited.

The Video:

Tanaya's Table - Dunkin Donuts Santa Monica Opening Video

Check out the one-minute video for highlights from Day 2 of the Dunkin’ Donuts opening!

Although East Coasters may have grown up on Dunkin’, I wonder how Californians will keep loving Dunkin’ in the long run, with all the other great donut and coffee places around. Perhaps Dunkin’ Donuts should be called Dunkin’ Coffee? It will also be interesting to see if local donut businesses and cafes (as we have a lot of mom & pop shops!) will take a hit as more Dunkin’ Donuts stores descend on Southern California. Personally, the DD experience was nice overall, but I’m all for the local mom & pop shops who have amazing donuts and a neighborhood feel!

Try it for the collective experience, and feel free to share your thoughts once you have been. Hope you enjoy it if you do decide to check it out. More summer food highlights to come!